Monday, February 18, 2013

Beyond You Tube: Other sources for video content appropriate for young children

In the previous two posts, I have discussed how to maximize the educational value of using videos with young children and how to make You Tube more child friendly. This post is dedicated to moving beyond You Tube in search of other video content that might be appropriate for young children.

Other places on the web to find video content for young children: Start bookmarking!!
Kideo:  Videos for kids.  Some of the content on this site comes from You Tube. When you create an account you can check a box that will make sure your child stays within the Kideo site at all times by disabling links to You Tube.  Commonsense media has provided a review of this site.
PBS kids:  There is a video section at PBS kids.  
National Geographic Little Kids Videos:  Science related videos.  Here are some samples,  a wood duck video and a woodpecker video.
Nickjr videos:  Clips from Nickjr. shows.  
Kidyos:  Prescreened videos and games for kids.  Create an account so you can create playlists.  Can also set a time limit.
Kidobi:  Prescreened videos.  Create an account and a profile for up to 3 children.  Commonsense media review.
Mr. Rogers Neighborhood videos:  Clips and full episodes are available.
Sesame Street videos:  You can search by subject and age level.  This site offers tips for parents for viewing and learning together.  
Peep and the Big Wide World:  Collection of science videos. 

Fred Rogers Early Learning Environment:  Videos for kids and parents.  If you create an account, you can create a playlist.  

iTUNES Video Podcasts
iTunes provides another alternative to You Tube.  You can find great educational content on iTunes via video podcasts.  Many video podcasts are free and can be downloaded to a mobile device for offline viewing or can be watched within iTunes.  You can subscribe to your favorites.  Here are a few links to get you started.  

Sesame Street:  Sesame street characters and celebrity guests explain meanings of new words.  A great way to build vocabulary.
NickJr:  Clips from Nickjr shows.
Two Kids Cooking:  Family time in the kitchen.  
Sea World Busch Gardens Animals

Australian Zoo TV:  Animal Diaries
Sky Guy:  Answering kid's questions about space and astronomy

Any other suggestions for finding appropriate video content for young children?  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

You Tube: Increasing safe use with young children

In the previous post I discussed strategies for maximizing the educational benefit of videos with young children. The most important strategy, participating in viewing videos with a child, also is the most effective strategy in making sure a child is safe during online experiences. An adult needs to guide and monitor a child's use of You Tube. If an adult plans to allow the child some independent exploration of videos, I recommend using an alternative site or mobile app that connects to You Tube as discussed in this post, or an alternative site for content which I will discuss in my next post.

You Tube:  You Tube is the number one source of video content on the internet.  You Tube is not an age appropriate site for young children for several reasons.
*  The safety features of You Tube are not foolproof.  
*  Searches can lead to inappropriate content.
*  Even if an appropriate video is found and viewed, the related videos may not be appropriate.
*  The comments underneath a video are often the source of the most inappropriate material.

For these reasons I recommend using other, more child friendly sites, for video content.  But, if you choose to use You Tube, there are some strategies that will increase the safety and appropriateness for young children.  

Create an account, create playlists, teach and monitor.  Creating an account on You Tube allows you to create playlists.  Previewed and approved videos can be organized in playlists.  Once you create playlists you will need to teach your child where to find these approved videos and avoid unapproved videos in the related video section.  Monitor your child closely as she uses You Tube.  Here is a link to a document I have started with some of my favorite videos.

Learn to set the safety features on You Tube such as Safe Search.  Learn more about You Tube on Common Sense Media and in the Parent Resources section of You Tube.

Try web based sites that will enhance safety.  
You Tube for Children  is a site that is in beta (test version) that removes related videos and comments when a child is watching a video.  To locate a video you need to search for it by name.  The down side is that each video has to searched individually.  Using a tab based web browser such as Chrome would allow a parent to search for several videos and open them for a child in separate tabs.  Related videos appear in the viewing window when a video is done.  Children will need to be taught to hit the replay button rather than go to a new, unscreened video.

Safe Share TV:  This site removes related videos and comments.  A user needs to cut and paste the link from You Tube into the search box on the Safe Share TV site.  The site will generate a new link.  Click on “take me to the safe view” and a new window will open.  Using Chrome, several videos could be opened using different tabs.    

Symbaloo:  Symbaloo is a site where you can create custom webmixes consisting of tiles that link to You Tube videos.  Parents can create an account and create a web mix for a child suing videos that are approved.  When creating a tile, choosing “embed” will result in the video opening within the same window, keeping the related videos and comments away.  Related videos appear at the end of the video, if a child clicks on the video it plays within the site.  Another option is to use a combination of the site SafeShare TV and Symbaloo.  SafeShare TV strips all of the comments and related videos and gives you a link to copy and paste when you create the tile in Symbaloo.  You can not embed this type of link, so the video will open in a new window.  

Use a mobile app to enhance safety.  There are some apps for Android and iOS that can increase safety when using You Tube.   There are new apps released on a regular basis so before deciding on an app you may want to do an updated search to see what is available.  If there is a choice of allowing a child to use a computer or a mobile device for viewing You Tube videos, I would choose the mobile device with one of these apps.  

TinyTube:  This app connects to your You Tube account and pulls in the videos from you Favorites list.  You child only has access to videos you previewed and saved to your favorites.  There are no related videos or favorites shown while you child is viewing the video but related videos do appear at the end.  You will need to teach your child to locate the replay button or use the favorites button to leave the finished video page rather than selecting a related video that you have not previewed.

iTube List:  This app connects to your You Tube account and pulls in video from your playlists.  Free version has ads, for .99 you can get rid of the ads.  Related videos that have been screened by the app developer, are shown during viewing of the selected video, but comments do not show.  When the video ends, a play button appears instead of related videos.  

Apps with pre-selected content.  These apps do not connect with your playlists.  Instead the apps curate content deemed appropriate and allow your child to play the videos in a safe, contained environment.  

Weet Woo:  A collection of curated You Tube videos for young children provided in a safe, user friendly environment.  Here is a link to a review on Common Sense Media.  

Gube:  Another collection of curated You Tube videos for young children.  The interface is similar to You Tube.  

Kid Tube:  Android version of this type of app.

In the next post, I will provide some links to other sources for video content.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Getting the most educational benefit out of videos

In two short weeks, I will be part of a great day, filled with sharing of resources and knowledge at a Tech Fair for Young Children.  The event is hosted by a local Early Childhood Family Education program.  The goal of the event is to empower parents, caregivers, and educators of young children to make informed, developmentally appropriate decisions related to the use of technology with young children.  I am providing three different sessions, one of these is on the use of video with young children.  This post summarizes the first part of our discussion on how video can be educational and what adult’s can do to maximize the impact on learning.  

Why use video with young children?
Video is engaging and attractive to young children.  Videos can provide experiences a child might not otherwise have.  If a child is asking what the inside of a bee hive looks like, a hands on experience may not be available but you might be able to find a fascinating video of the inside of a bee hive.  You could explain what you know about bee hives, but with video they can hear it and see it, much more powerful.  Educators can use video to expand content and flatten the classroom walls. Another opportunity videos offer is a novel way to provide needed repetition of some skills that require it.  

Some child development experts worry that when children are watching videos, they are not engaging in activities that we know are good for their development such as playing, engaging in physical activities, or playing outside.  Intention and balance are the key.  Mindful, informed, developmentally appropriate use of video can support and encourage all of these other things we know are good for children.  Watching a video of the bee hive might encourage a child to go outside and count how many bees he can find in the garden or lead to a cooking activity with honey.  Video will be much more educationally rich when combined with "unplugged" developmentally appropriate activities to help the learning stick.  Here are some tips and strategies for getting the most educational bang out of videos.  

1. Follow the child's lead.  Why do pigs like mud?  Do baby kangaroos really live in a pouch?  Children ask so many wonderful questions.  These questions lead to teachable moments and are opportunities for you to spark that sense of wonder and inquiry.  You can answer by saying, "let's find out" and model the research process.  Video can be a great tool to answer some of these questions and provide experiences that will lead to expansion and more inquiry. If you just visited the fire station and your child is buzzing about the experience, finding a video about fire stations encourages further reflection.
2.  Preview the content: Always watch videos all the way through to make sure the content and the way it is delivered is developmentally appropriate.  It is important that an adult is guiding young children through this experience by making responsible choices regarding content.  

3.  Watch the video with the child:  This is the tip that can have the greatest impact on increasing the educational value of the experience.  There have been numerous studies finding that children get greater educational benefit from engaging in the use of digital media with someone else.  Talking about the content with someone else increases recall and understanding, co-viewing encourages narration skills, and acquisition of new vocabulary. The Fred Rogers Early Learning Environment is home to an informative video that demonstrates very specific strategies adults can use while watching videos with young children.  Adults are encouraged to treat videos like they would a book by pausing the video, asking questions, commenting, expanding on the child's comments and helping the child make connections. 

4.  Set Limits:  Children need support in establishing and following limits. If needed, use a support such as a timer.      

5.  Keep the learning going, provide extension activities that will help make the learning stick:
     Connect digital and real life experiences: After viewing the video together, turn to an “unplugged” activity to help make the learning stick.  If your child watched a video of a bulldozer leveling dirt, get a bulldozer, head out to the dirt pile or sandbox and give it a try.  If a child watches a video of Mr. Rogers visiting the stage of STOMP, head to the kitchen to see what you and your child can find to make music.  After a child watches a video about boomerangs, challenge him or her to make one with paper and tape, or other materials, then take it outside and see if it works.
     Model other forms of research and inquiry:  Go to the library and find books about bulldozers. Go to the zoo and watch the kangaroos. Visit a local beekeeper and ask questions about bee hives.  
     Create: Now that you have acquired some new learning, create a product that demonstrates that learning.  Documenting and revisiting experiences in a different way will help the new learning stick.  Draw a picture of a bee hive or make a bee hive out of clay. Create a video of the Stomp production in your kitchen and share it with Grandma.  

The next part of the discussion will be where to find educational videos and how to provide the safest experience possible.  Did I miss any strategies?